The festive season is here and after the difficulties of the last few months, courtesy of hurricanes Irma and Maria, you can be sure the islands are ready to party in true Caribbean style. When our senior writer Carol Bareuther was compiling her annual list of Holiday Happenings, contacting the various islands for details of Christmas and New Year festivities, the response she received was outstanding, it seems the islands are ready to rock. December is a wonderful time to be in the Caribbean, the heat of previous months has drained away, the cooling trade winds push cotton wool clouds around a sky of deep blue and the sea embraces like warm bath water. The islands have something for everyone. Party animals can revel in nonstop action, while romantics can enjoy intimate, beach-side dinners under a million stars. Anchorages offer solitude for those seeking to escape the hustle and bustle of the 21st century, while the more sociable can join a lively community of like-minded cruisers to share potluck dinners and join in activities such as island tours, hiking and happy hour. The festive season adds to all that’s on offer, turn to page 48 for our guide to this year’s Holiday Happenings and prepare to lime Caribbean style.
Every month, All At Sea brings you stories and features from the Caribbean, and what we refer to as the Caribbean covers a huge area from the Bahamas in the north, the Turks and Caicos, the Islands of the Lesser Antilles, north coast of South America, and the western Caribbean including Panama. Although we focus on these areas, occasionally a feature from beyond the Caribbean finds its way onto the page, as is the case this month. The story is by Birgit Hackl and her partner who sailed extensively in the Caribbean before pushing on into the Pacific. Birgit often writes technical or ‘how to’ articles for the magazine so when she pitched a story about how a cruising couple are helping thousands of South Sea islanders by providing them with free eye glasses my first thought was to turn it down. Then along came the hurricanes of September and I changed my mind. You already know the outcome of the hurricanes in terms of damage, but what you probably don’t know is just how many cruising and sailing organizations from around the world, private yachts, mega yacht crews and concerned individuals offered to help those who lost so much in the storms. Many offered cash, others offered food and clothing, while others wanted to donate but simply didn’t know how. And that’s why I decided to run the story about cruisers collecting glasses for those in need. I’m not suggesting everyone dash to the Caribbean with tons of used eyeglasses, I want the article to stimulate ideas, help us think outside the box and recognize that when disaster strikes there is more to aid than donations that might go unused or even unwanted.
One of the most disheartening sounds on a boat is the whirr of a starter motor and an engine that cranks but refuses to start. Perhaps even worse is an engine that starts and then shudders to a stop. On a motorboat, you are dead in the water. On a sailboat, you are about to hone your sailing skills or join the motorboat in calling for a tow. Many such problems can be avoided by making sure your diesel fuel, the engine’s lifeblood, is clean. This lesson was brought home to me with a vengeance when my engine died as I entered a narrow cut. Looking at the bowl on the Racor filter told me what the problem was. When I removed the bowl, the diesel it contained was like mulligatawny soup. On page 48, Captain/Engineer Jeff Werner looks at fuel maintenance and how to install a fuel system that will keep your engine running sweetly.
The team at All At Sea wishes everyone a Happy Holiday season. See you in 2018.
See you on the water!
Gary E. Brown, Editor